Skip to content

All policies regarding graduate studies can be found on the Policies & Guidelines page of the School of Graduate Studies website.

Time Limit of Degrees

The time limit for a degree is the maximum period of registration permitted for the completion of the program.  The table below outlines the time limits of the degree programs:

Degree Program FT PT (Master’s)
Flex-time (PhD)
Master’s 3 years 6 years
Doctoral 6 years 8 years

Leaves of Absence

Under certain circumstances, students may apply for a Leave of Absence (LOA) from their program, which can range from one session (e.g. Fall session, September-December) to 3 sessions (e.g. full-year, September-August). The start and end of a LOA must coincide with the start and end of academic session dates. The leave period is not included in the student’s time limit for degree completion.  While on leave, students will not be registered or required to pay fees.  Therefore, students may not make any requests or demands from the university, attend courses, or expect advice from faculty. Students may make arrangements to consult with their supervisor.

The form can be downloaded from the SGS Student Forms & Letters page. It is the student’s responsibility to:

  • Discuss this matter with their Program Director and/or supervisor first.
  • Submit the form to the Graduate Office as soon as possible, preferably at least 3 weeks prior to the start of the LOA
    • If the request is based on a medical issue, a doctor’s note outlining when you will be under medical care and when you are expected to return, signed and dated by your physician, must accompany the form;
    • If the request is based on personal issues, please attach a letter of explanation;
    • If the request is due to parental leave (pregnancy or adoption), no further documentation is required. However, parental leave should be completed within 12 months of the date of birth or custody. Where both parents are graduate students taking leave, the combined total number of sessions may not exceed 4. Students on approved parental leave may be eligible for the SGS Parental Grant.

All first requests are reviewed and approved by the GDPHS Graduate Coordinator. Second and subsequent medical/personal requests require a letter of substantive rationale and the additional approval of the School of Graduate Studies.

Temporary Stop-Out

Full-time students in coursework-only degree programs may request to temporarily stop-out for a period of up to 12 months. This option should be discussed with your Program Director, and if you decide to stop-out, you must complete and submit the Program Temporary Stop-Out form available on the SGS Student Forms & Letters page. Unlike a LOA, the time away from studies is counted towards your time limit for degree completion.

Program Extensions

Students who are unable finish their degree requirements within the time period noted above will need to request a program extension.  Students must speak with their Supervisor or Program Director regarding the reason(s) for the delay and provide evidence that the remaining degree requirements will be completed within the period of the extension request. Program extension requests require approval of the Graduate Coordinator and SGS, and are not guaranteed.  Program extensions are considered one year at a time up to a maximum of four extensions for doctoral students. A maximum of three one‐year extensions may be available for master’s students. Prior to approval of additional extensions, your progress will be reviewed at the end of each extension year. If you do not complete your degree requirements by the end of the maximum period of extension, or if an extension is denied, no further registration or reinstatement will be permitted.

The ‘Program Extension (Current Regulations)’ form must be completed and submitted to the Graduate Office. The form can be downloaded from the SGS Student Forms & Letters page.

Procedures for students admitted into the PhD program prior to September 1, 2010 and Master’s, PhD Flex-Time before September 1, 2011 are subject to separate regulation.

Course Work Extensions

Deadlines for course work submission should be clearly outlined in all course syllabi. In the event that such deadlines cannot be made due to extenuating circumstances, it is the student’s responsibility to inform the instructor and discuss alternative deadlines. If the agreed upon deadline occurs after the end of the course offering, and a final grade cannot be assigned by the grade submission deadline, students may need to request a course  extension. The form can be downloaded from the SGS Student Forms & Letters page. Complete the form and ensure that:

  • it is signed by the instructor;
  • it is submitted to the Graduate Office
  • a medical note or Verification of Illness form is included, if the delay is due to illness.

Students must submit outstanding assignments by the extension date agreed upon with the instructor, and before the maximum extension period of four months (the end of following term).  Until the assignment(s) are received and a final grade is submitted to the GDPHS, the notation ‘SDF’ (Standing Deferred) will appear on the student’s transcript.

Academic Appeals

Per SGS policy, (SGS Calendar, General Regulations, Academic Appeals Policy), students “may appeal substantive or procedural academic matters, including grades, program requirements, decisions about the continuation in any program or concerning any other decision with respect to the application of academic regulations and requirements to a student”. Students wishing to file appeal must follow these steps, as outlined by the School of Graduate Studies:

  1. The student must first attempt to resolve the matter with the instructor or other person whose ruling is in question. Should the matter not be resolved with the instructor, and should the student wish to pursue the matter, the student must discuss the matter with the PHS Graduate Coordinator or Registrar.
  2. Should such discussions fail to resolve the matter, the student may make a formal appeal in writing by completing a Notice of Appeal to the GDAAC form. Please contact the Chair of the GDAAC or PHS Graduate Coordinator for information regarding submission of a Notice of Appeal. Please be advised that this form must be completed within 8 weeks of the decision being appealed.
  3. The Chair of the GDAAC will decide if the appeal requires an oral hearing and/or written submission. The GDAAC will then make a recommendation to the Associate Dean, Academic Affairs regarding the merits of the appeal, at which point Associate Dean, Academic Affairs will render the department-level decision.
  4. If the student is unsatisfied with the decision of the GDAAC, the appeal can be escalated to the SGS Graduate Academic Appeals Board (GAAB) within 8 weeks of the decision of the graduate unit.

For more information about the process, please refer to the academic appeals procedures outlined in the SGS Calendar:

2023-2024 PHS GDAAC contacts:
GDAAC Chair: Jeremy Scott
PHS Graduate Coordinator: Olli Saarela

Program Withdrawal

Students who wish to withdraw from their program should speak with their Program Director and the Graduate Coordinator. The SGS policy on withdrawal from a graduate program can be found in the SGS Calendar (General Regulations, Registration & Enrolment). Students must complete and submit the ‘Program Withdrawal’ form, found on the SGS Student Forms & Letters page. A rebate of fees, if any, will be determined by the date on which written notification of withdrawal is received by SGS.

Study Abroad

Students who travel out of the country for any university-sanctioned purpose (fieldwork or research,) must register with the U of T Safety Abroad. Registration in this database is mandatory for all travel related to your degree program and allows the university to better protect its students in the case of an emergency.